Tag Archives: Lovecraft Circle

The Road by Hiroshi Aramata

“The Road” by Hiroshi Aramata is a short story that appears in Straight to Darkness: Lairs of the Hidden Gods Volume 3 published by Kurodahan Press, an anthology of Cthulhu Mythos Tales from Japan edited by Asamatsu Ken. The Road was translated from Japanese to English by Kathleen Taji.

Hiroshi Aramata
Hiroshi Aramata

This story caught my eye for two reasons:

Mainly, I’ve become intrigued with Hiroshi Aramata’s series of Japanese occult novels based around the history of Tokyo titled, Teito Monogatari, but sadly I’ve been unable to read them, as aside from a few short fan translations, they’ve yet to be translated from Japanese into English. However, the novels have been adapted into two films Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis and Tokyo: The Last War, an original animated video series titled Doomed Megalopolis, and a manga series keeping the original Teito Monogatari name. So I’ve been able to experience a bit of the series via fan-translations of the adaptations. I found the first film, Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis to be an enjoyable watch, despite the filmmaker’s obviously needing to cram a lot of material into a single film. Some of you may be familiar with the series due to the iconic appearance of the series’ antagonist Yasunori Kato, who was an influence on the Street Fighter character, M. Bison (or Vega as he’s called in Japan), as well as several other fictional characters over the years.

Yasunori Kato
Yasunori Kato

 

It also turns out “The Road” is set primary in Providence, RI and focuses on the life of H. P. Lovecraft.

 

H. P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft

The story takes place from September 10th to September 11th 2001 and begins with a train ride from New York City to Boston, Massachusetts. The main character is an unnamed Japanese professional, possibly a scientist or educator, who is a huge fan of H. P. Lovecraft. Browsing the story a second time, the character’s sex could be either male or female. Either way, the main character can’t resist getting off the train to walk the platform during the train’s three-minute stop in Providence, RI.

As fate would have it, the train pulls away before the narrator can climb back on board. In the ensuing hours, the narrator finds themselves being given a personal tour of Providence by Lovecraft’s friend, C. M. Eddy, who died back in 1967. Needless to say, time-travel via metaphysics seems to play a part in this story. Evidently, a concept or mechanism the people of Providence refer to as “The Road” will be opening soon. The last time “The Road” opened was back in 1923 as a result of the Great Kanto Earthquake that rocked Japan. As an aside, the Great Kanto Earthquake plays a part in Aramata’s Teito Monogatari series as well, with Yasunori Kato, causing the devastating earthquake through the use of magic.

Overall I thought “The Road” was a solid story written in tribute to H. P. Lovecraft. The metaphysical concept of “The Road,” or “the shadow of time” as they sometimes call it in Providence, is kind of interesting, but I enjoyed the tour of Providence by C. M. Eddy more, myself. I know from my limited reading on Lovecraft’s life that portions of what Eddy tells the narrator aren’t accurate (Robert Price points some of these out in his introduction, which I recommend reading AFTER you read the story and not before, due to a few minor spoilers) but they didn’t detract from the story. As a matter of fact, the scenes with Eddy kind of brought my mind to Paul Malmont’s two pulp era novels featuring pulp fiction writers: The China Town Death Cloud Peril (which Lovecraft appeared in, and the main characters attended his funeral) and The Amazing, the Astounding, and the Unknown, both of which I enjoyed.

I didn’t much care for the climax of the tale, it felt a bit too generic, but I thought the actual ending was handled rather nicely.

If you’re a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos, I don’t think you’ll find much meat on the bone in this one. But if you’re a fan or scholar of Lovecraft the man, this will probably be more up your alley, but like I said, don’t expect 100% factual accuracy here.

I basically picked this up because I wanted to actually read a story written by Hiroshi Aramata and it just so happened the only story he has out there that’s been translated into English is a short story about H. P. Lovecraft and Providence.  Given these circumstances, I’m glad I took the time to read “The Road” and am eternally crossing my fingers for his Teito Monogatari series to be translated into English.

Pulp Crazy – The Affair of the Cuckolded Warlock by H. Warner Munn

http://pulpcrazy.com/podcast/144.mp3

In this week’s episode I’ll be discussing “The Affair of the Cuckolded Warlock” by H. Warner Munn. It’s a short story that appeared as a chapbook in 1975 from The Lanthorne Press.

It’s told in the first person narrative style, from the viewpoint of a professor at the University of Chorazim, and is being told as a cautionary tale to group of graduates. The University of Chorazim specializes in the education of witches and wizards. The professor tells them about how a gifted warlock went astray.

Links:

Jessica Amanda Salmonson Interviews H. Warner Munn: https://web.archive.org/web/20130628075234/http://www.violetbooks.com/Munn.html

W. H. Pugmire on his friend H. Warner Munn: http://lovecraftianhorror.blogspot.com/2012/03/thinking-of-harold.html

Purchase Tales of the Werewolf Clan by H. Warner Munn from Altus Press: http://www.altuspress.com/shop/tales-of-the-werewolf-clan/

Past Pulp Crazy episodes on Munn tales: http://pulpcrazy.com/?tag=h-warner-munn

The Werewolf of Ponkert by H. Warner Munn

http://pulpcrazy.com/podcast/111.mp3

“Take a werewolf story, for instance — who ever wrote a story from the point of view of the wolf, and sympathising strongly with the devil to whom he has sold himself?” - H.P. Lovecraft in a letter to Edwin Baird, November 1923. This letter would later appear in Weird Tales, where a young writer named H. Warner Munn would read it and be inspired.

In this weeks episode I will be discussing The Werewolf of Ponkert by H. Warner Munn. It’s a werewolf story that Munn wrote after being inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s comment.

The Werewolf of Ponkert was first published in July 1925 issue of Weird Tales. It was the cover story that month. The story is the first entry in Munn’s Tales of the Werewolf Clan series. The Werewolf of Ponkert takes place in north eastern Hungary, during the mid to late 15th Century.

It has been recently collected by Altus Press in the collection, “Tales of the Werewolf Clan”. This collects all of Munn’s werewolf clan tales and includes a new introduction by his grandson, John Munn. It’s available in both a hardcover and trade paperback from the Altus Press website.

Links:

Purchase Tales of the Werewolf Clan from Altus Press: http://www.altuspress.com/shop/tales-of-the-werewolf-clan/

H.P. Lovecraft & His Legacy Article on The Werewolf of Ponkert: http://chrisperridas.blogspot.com/2008/07/werewolf-of-ponkert.html

Philip José, H. Warner Munn, and Damon Knight: http://www.pjfarmer.com/bimages/pict8.jpg | http://www.pjfarmer.com/photoal.htm

H. Warner Munn at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._Warner_Munn

H. Warner Munn at ISFDB.org: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?1802

Christopher Paul Carey’s website: http://www.cpcarey.com/

Pulp Crazy – The Bat Is My Brother by Robert Bloch

http://pulpcrazy.com/podcast/107.mp3

In this weeks episode I’m going to be discussing, The Bat Is My Brother by Robert Bloch. It first appeared in the November 1944 issue of Weird Tales. It’s been reprinted in a handful of vampire and weird fiction anthologies over the years, but I read it on unz.org. They have the original Weird Tales scan up for you to download and read. If you’re new to the pulps, but recognize the name, it’s most likely due to Robert Bloch being the writer of Psycho, the book that inspired the Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.

The story is most likely not in the public domain as Bloch passed away in 1994, but it’s there on unz.org if you’re interested. I’ll put a link to it and also a link to the isfdb bibliography in the show notes, in case you want to read the story online or purchase a used copy of one of the anthologies it appeared it. From what I saw I don’t believe this tale is currently in print, so the secondary anthology market is probably your best bet other than unz.org. The original issue of Weird Tales is probably a bit pricey, as most Weird Tales issues are.

As you can probably guess from the title, and the image I chose for the episode title card, this is a vampire story. It’s about a guy named Graham Keene who wakes up in a paupers grave and busts through the cheap casket to emerge up out of the soil. After emerging he meets a vampire who informs Graham that he’s a vampire now too.

 

Links:

The Bat Is My Brother at UNZ.org:  http://www.unz.org/Pub/WeirdTales-1944nov-00058?View=PDFPages

The Bat Is My Brother at ISFDB.org: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?87932

Robert Bloch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Bloch

H.P. Lovecraft: Letters to Robert Bloch & Others: http://www.hippocampuspress.com/h.p-lovecraft/collected-letters/h.-p.-lovecraft-letters-to-robert-bloch-and-others

Recording of Robert Bloch at the First World Fantasy Convention: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dsfrlt4Qg0Q